Food Dialogues Blog

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5 Reasons Why You Need to Grocery Shop with Your Children On Occasion

I know, I know, you’re reading this and calling me mad! WHO grocery shops with their children? I do! Not all of the time, but when I’m feeling courageous and even more patient than usual, I’ll round up the kiddies and let them go grocery shopping with me. However, I have an ulterior motive for doing it.

Given that I have 4 children, and I happen to work from home, it’s kind of a no-brainer that I would have to take them with me to the grocery store every now and again. I’ve survived long enough to be able to share some of the why. The HOW is up to you. We have very clear guidelines about things, and I tend not to grocery shop if I’m stressed, hungry or tired. It makes for a horrible experience all around.

Here are five FOOD reasons you should take your child(ren) grocery shopping with you.

  1. They will be curious about all of the different fruits, vegetables and meats. This is the time where the BEST education takes place! If you’re growing a garden, it is the perfect time to show them WHAT will be coming up from the ground, or growing below it!
  2. Showcasing the fact that the only tomato that you can buy isn’t in fact a beefsteak is great too. Once we started growing over 32 varieties of tomatoes in our garden, my children understood that what the grocery store offered isn’t all that is available. It ignited something in their head and here we are with 32 different varieties of tomatoes now.
  3. They will eat more of what they choose. Honestly, if you let kids pick out food (with guidance of course) they will then help you prepare, you’re less likely to have a standoff on your hands when it comes time to eat. There is something about giving children – no matter what their age – control over what they’re eating. They usually have fun telling everyone they picked it out, too.
  4. Having children involved in choosing produce also helps them understand what in-season and off-season means. When I was pregnant with my oldest child, I craved watermelon, cherries and peaches…in January. It was an expensive pregnancy, I can tell you that. My children have learned that certain fruits and vegetables cost a bit more during the seasons when our region can’t grow them. Yes, they are still grown places, but sometimes they don’t taste as good, and they surely cost more money.
  5. Shopping for food at a younger age, prepares them to be able to shop for food without you. It will go a long way to learn great shopping habits, and how to make smart choices when it comes to foods being in season. Imagine your child being able to shop for and cook a full meal before they leave for college! They know the different fruits, vegetables, and how best to prepare them. They may even know ways to prepare them that aren’t the standard. No more boiled to mush brussels sprouts. Toss those babies with bacon, apples and a vinaigrette and you’ll be the talk of your dormitory!

It’s important to start these lessons with food early. Food can be polarizing, and having children front and center in their own food story can give them a foundation to research and learn, and in general, go with their gut when shopping. If something doesn’t look good aesthetically, it doesn’t mean that it’s not good. There are a TON of ugly tomatoes that I pick off of my vines that are delicious! Unfortunately, those ugly tomatoes are bound to get left behind by shoppers.

Do you take your children grocery shopping? Tweet me and let me know why!

To read more from Natasha, check out her blog, Houseful of Nicholes.

Natasha is part of U.S. Farmers and Ranchers Alliance’s Digital Voices Council. All opinions expressed are the writer’s own. Funded by one or more checkoff programs.